Written by: Jennifer Card, M.Sc.
When we are feeling stressed, we tend to hyper-focus on what is not working in our lives, which can increase our stress levels. The practice of gratitude can help us to shift our focus from what is not working to what is going well in our lives. Researchers Emmons & McCullough (2003) suggest that the practice of gratitude is good for both our physical and psychological wellbeing. Focusing on, and savouring, what is going well in our lives (instead of ruminating on what is not) helps to increase our sense of optimism.
There are several ways to practice gratitude including starting your day with a gratitude journal, reflecting on 3 things that you are grateful for …it could be as simple as “I am grateful for this amazing cup of coffee…or as meaningful as …I am grateful for my health”, and be specific.
In addition, during the day, if you start to feel stressed stop to reflect on a few things you are grateful for …and feel the gratitude in your body.
Choose optimism and gratitude every time as an interrupter of stress, and positively refocus your attention to what you want and away from what you don’t want.